Coronavirus Has Thrown Tim Tebow's MLB Dreams a Curve

Tracy Ringolsby

Tim Tebow is the feel-good guy.

He's always upbeat. He's always looking forward. 

But, face it, it's time for honest self-evaluation.

As Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated discusses in his video today, the fact Tebow isn't on the Mets' 60-player list doesn't bode well for the former Florida quarterback, who won a Heisman Trophy as a sophomore, and then, in his one legitimate opportunity in the NFL took over at quarterback for a 1-3  Broncos team in 2011 and saw the team rally for a playoff spot.

The Broncos, however, signed Peyton Manning in February of 2012, and dealt Tebow to the New York Giants. After a year with the Giants, Tebow was on the open market. He wound on the taxi squads for the Patriots in 2013 and Eagles in 2015. 

Having come to the end of his tenure in the NFL, Tebow decided to baseball a whirl. It hasn't been easy. He was 29 when he signed with the Mets' organization in 2017, and found himself at the Class A level. He has taken a step up each of the last two years but it has been a challenge.

He has a composite .223 average for those three minor-league seasons with 327 strikeouts, only 210 hits, and just 69 of those hits for extra bases. And hand injuries limited to 84 games with Double-A Binghamton in 2018 and 77 games in 2019 at Triple-A Syracuse.

And he's on the backside of 30, not a normal growth period for an athlete.

In the words of John Conlee:

I'm on the backside of thirty and back on my own
An empty apartment don't feel like a home
On the backside of thirty, the short side of time
Back on the bottom with no will to climb, guitar, man!

Tebow suffered a broken hamate bone in his right hand on July 23, 2018, ending his season with Binghamton, and a left little finger injury on July 21, 2019, ending his season with Syracuse.

Now, he finds himself watching from afar in 2020. He isn't on the Mets 60-man roster for the pandemic-shortened 2020 big-league season so he wont' be around when the Mets players show up for physical on Wednesday and begin working out this weekend for a season that will start the final weekend of July and feature a 60-game schedule

Oh, he still has a dream,and he has the enthusiasm to be a fan favorite, but be honest. He would have played at age 32 this season. The late Branch Rickey, who was using analytics before battery-operated calculators were invited, contended a key for long term success is that when a player turns 32 it's time to move him because as good as he may be he is about to embark on the backside of a career.

And Tebow is already 32, and nowhere close to being big-league ready.

Consider that Sam Jethro is the oldest player in history to win an MLB Rookie of the Year award. He was honored as a member of the Boston Braves with the NL Rookie of the Year honor in 1950 at the age of 32.

 But, don't overlook the fact that Jethro began playing in the Negro Leagues in 1938 before initially signing with the Dodgers. He played with the Dodgers Triple-A Montreal team in 1948 and 1949 before being sold to the Braves for $150,000.

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